We joke around with our Italian friends when it comes to "caffe" in Italy. It's a far cry from what is served at those places in the USA. In fact, their attempt to crack the Italian market was a miserable failure. I don't think we've ever seen one of their outlets here. Our Italian friends complain about visiting the USA and thinking these places are going to sell them espresso they are familiar with...and in a timely fashion!
We went back to Viterbo this weekend to celebrate the vernal equinox with our friends and were very happy to stop into Gran Caffe Schenardi, right in the historic center. Far more than an espresso joint, we dropped by for an aperitivo in the early evening. Along with your Campari Soda, etc. places like this offer a tasty array of snacks to go with the drinks. Forget about stale popcorn or rancid peanuts!
We're talking real snacks; miniature suppli, various tiny pizza bites, salads of many types, all made here. If you're not super hungry this could even substitute for dinner, which it did in our case!
We were back the next morning for cappuccini e cornetti! They serve our favorite ILLY Caffe and you can tell the barmen (nobody calls these people baristas here) get schooled in how to make a proper cappuccino, espresso, latte/caffe macchiato. No caramel syrups, chocolate, whipped cream, etc. to mask the awful taste of burnt coffee beans like at Fourbucks. And you don't have to give some counter person your name so it can be scrawled on a paper cup while you stand around waiting. And waiting. It's called ESPRESSO for a reason, so why does it take so long?
Later we were taken on a short drive to see Heather's olive tree, "Athena" a remembrance of the winter we lived here and Larry couldn't resist asking "Zio Bruno" about his Fiat 500 as he blasted around the narrow streets in a much newer (and characterless) Fiat 600. Before we left he swung around to a makeshift garage and pulled back the curtain. Next he started her up, revved the engine and beeped the horn! No Photoshop tricks here folks, the car (and Larry) are actual size!